Leaders of the eight SAARC countries have pledged to work together to enhance intra regional trade between SAARC countries to enhance trade and towards this end, 26 public and private sector trade related organisations from all 8 SAARC member countries plus 2 regional organisations from SAARC grouped together as the SAARC Trade Promotion Network (SAARC-TPN) are working in close collaboration to further develop and promote regional economic integration within SAARC. The group had extensive deliberations in Goa, India from 1 - 4 February and has put together a comprehensive work plan until the end of 2012.
Among the activities of the Network are the unique SAARC trade information portal www.saarctrade.info for the promotion of business from and within the SAARC region for individual businesses from all sectors.
This trade information portal (TIP) is jointly implemented by the SAARC Information Centre (SIC), Nepal and German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and operated by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC). The SAARC-TIP is officially approved by 38th SAARC Standing Committee held and implemented under the directions of the Advisory Committee chaired by the representative of the SAARC Presidency and represented by the SAARC Secretary General.
The main objective of the web portal is to provide a trade information system in the SAARC region connecting number of diverse trade information providers. Specific results already achieved are twofold: a formal network of public and private sector organisations from the SAARC countries has been established as the SAARC Trade Promotion Network (SAARC-TPN). The internet-based Trade Information Portal (SAARC-TIP), containing decision-support business information from all SAARC countries, has been established.
In addition, the SAARC-TPN is now in the planning stage of organising and hosting an interregional business-to-business summit in Delhi in early 2012 with more than 2,000 companies from all 8 countries of the region as well as Europe to further stimulate intra-regional business. A specialised working group under the lead of FICCI, India and with the collaboration of FPCCI, Pakistan is in charge to identify and organise suitable companies to participate in business match making.
Also, the members of the SAARC-TPN are now in the process of integrating additional information on regional standards and certification issues on the www.saarctrade.info portal for the benefit of businesses in the region. These issues of Quality Infrastructure are supposed to overcome obstacles usually referred to as non-tariff barriers (NTB) or technical barriers to trade (TBT). The specialised collaboration partner for these activities is the national metrology institute of Germany, PTB.
In Sri Lanka the organisations working on the project are the department of Commerce (DOC), The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), the National Chamber of Commerce (NCCSL) and the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL).The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce heads the Trade Information Portal Working Group.